Securing an internship

Once an internship is secured (the student is selected and accepts an offer of qualified internship), the student will need the following documentation to qualify and gain approval for registration and participation in PAF484 or PAF584 Internship class to earn academic credit, meeting the undergraduate requirement, or as a graduate program elective, during the next available term (fall, spring or summer session C). 

All documents must be completed and returned to the Internship Coordinator prior to clearance for enrollment in PAF484 or PAF584 Internship course.  Students may want to schedule an in-person appointment to complete the first (Step 1) documents, confirm that the work-learning opportunity will qualify and be approved for academic credit, and address any final questions before accepting an internship (approximately two months prior to the start of the participating semester).  For the return of subsequent documents, students may schedule an appointment in-person or by phone, drop-off at the office, and/or use fax or email to complete this part of the process (Step 2).

Step 1.  The student will provide a position description and a student statement of interest and fit with academic and career preparation and goals.              

Position Description - Briefly describes the work to be performed, project(s) to be completed, student qualifications, organization’s expectations and outcomes, estimated number of hours per week and number of weeks, or duration the student will be engaged in the work-learning experience.

Statement of Interest - Briefly describes student’s interest in the work-learning opportunity, what they will contribute (classroom knowledge and skills to be used), what skills or knowledge will be learned, and how this learning will enhance the student’s education and preparation for work and career choices after graduation.

These documents are reviewed by the internship coordinator to start the qualification process for any work-learning opportunity proposed (established/previous, newly developed, or student developed) and to continue in the internship approval process.  Once the position description and student's interest have been reviewed adn discussed the student can proceed to step two.

Step 2.  Student and employer complete two forms – a School of Public Affairs Internship Confirmation form and the ASU Core Learning Competencies form, and return to the internship coordinator prior to the School's established deadlines and in accordance with the University academic calendar, for the semester in which the student anticipates participation in internship.

SPA Internship Confirmation - gathers student and intern employer information in one place; provides necessary information in concise format

ASU Core Learning Competencies - are based on the position/project description and ASU standards for earning academic credit for work-learning versus classroom learning activities  

Step 3.  The Internship Coordinator uses the completed SPA Internship Confirmation and ASU Core Learning Competencies forms, along with the position description and the student's statement of interest/fit, to generate an application for agreement (approval of the internship for academic credit).

The Coordinator submits the information via DocuSign - an online signature system.  The agreement document is electronically sent back to the supervisor/agency and then on to the college/university for signatures, then stored in the DocuSign repository for the duration of the agreement.  The Agreement is between the University and the Employer/Agency/Organization.  Agreements can be made for as short as 2-4 months (semester) or as long as five years.

The Agreement must be completed and signed by the University and Agency a minimum of one month prior to the start of the semester in which the student will be performing the work-learning activities.

Step 4.  Once the agreement is approved, the Internship Coordinator will notify the SPA Academic Advisor and the student will be cleared (and notified) to register and participate in the PAF484 Internship course during the semester in which they perform the internship*.

The student will be instructed to register electronically for either 3 or 6 academic credits (undergraduate) or 3 credits (graduate), depending on the agreement negotiated for the current semester or the next semester the course is offered following the start of the internship negotiated*.

Once cleared to register, the student has until the University’s posted “last day to register or drop/add without college approval” to complete registration.

 Step 5.   PAF484 Internship course is offered during the C-session of a semester, in fall, spring or summer.

To earn academic credit the student must be enrolled in the appropriate Internship course, in addition to the work performed in the internship.  The student must complete course assignments as set by the instructor, throughout the semester in which they are enrolled in the course and performing the work of the internship. 

Assignments may include, recording completion of work hours and work tasks performed, reflection or progress notes toward expectations/project completion, participation in discussion board topic writing and response, career development activities with classmates in employer/agency, SPA and University sponsored events.

Step 6.  PAF484 Internship course awards a pass/fail grade. 

To earn a ‘pass’ grade students must successfully complete the project/work and hours of the internship, as determined by the employer. And, successfully complete all course assignments and class activities, as determined by the instructor.

 Step 7.  Each participating student documents their new learning, skills, and experience through class assignments and discussion. 

Students learn to document their experience on their resume and professional LinkedIn Profile, thereby demonstrating or providing evidence of knowledge, skills, and experience desired by today's top government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or community partner companies. Students polish their professional introduction and prepare to talk about their internship, education, and transferable skills with their internship and other prospective employers and organizations, and with alumni and other public service professionals who can help promote them to achieve their career and professional development goals.

For more information about the SPA Internship Experience, or for other career and professional development tools and resources:


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